Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Published: March 28, 2014 at 9:00 am
Written by Lois Rodriguez, Photographs by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center | From the March 2014 issue | Updated: April 27, 2022 | Filed Under: Wildflowers
Wildflowers near Blooming Grove in Navarro County. Photo: J. Griffis Smith
Texas Highways has chosen 30 of Texas’ most common wildflowers to identify and celebrate. It is a brief introduction to the splendor of a Lone Star spring – just a sampling of the more than 5,000 blooming plants in our lush state, so forgive us if we’ve omitted your particular favorite.
Are you as wild for wildflowers as we are? Read the rest of our wildflower stories here!
Lupinus texensis — Begins blooming early spring (but Big Bend bluebonnet can bloom as early as January). All six species of bluebonnet that grow in the state have been designated the State Flower by the Texas Legislature. A member of the large lupine genus.
Castilleja spp. — Blooms early spring throughout the state. Several species, whose colors vary from scarlet to orange, cream, yellow, and occasionally purple. The bright tips of the petal-like bracts look like they’ve been dipped in paint. The genus name honors Spanish botanist Domingo Castillejo (1744-1793).
Gaillardia pulchella — Blooms April to June across much of the state. When viewed in a mass, the brilliant combination of red, orange, and yellow resembles brightly woven fabric. Also called firewheel.
Phlox drummondii — Blooms early spring. Occurs most frequently in spectacular masses of color among sandy post-oak woods and along roadsides in south Central Texas. Named for Scottish botanist Thomas Drum-mond, who collected the plants on a visit to Texas in 1834. Most common color is red, but shades of pink, blue, and purple are also seen. Also called wild phlox.
Verbena spp. — Blooms most profusely in spring, but may flower at other times of the year depending on rainfall. Found throughout the state; among Texas’ most abundant wildflowers.
Pink evening primrose
Oenothera speciosa— Blooms April to June across much of the state. Opens at dusk in northern portions of Texas; flowers wither each day, replaced by new blossoms each evening. Elsewhere in the state, blooms stay open all day. Drought-tolerant. Also known as buttercup.
Eustoma grandiflorum — Blooms June to September in moist areas in fields and prairies, and in drainage areas, except in Big Bend Country. Bluebells have virtually disappeared in many locations because of indiscriminate picking. Don’t pick them! One of the state’s loveliest flowers; an entire field is stunning. Flowers range from bluish-purple to white, or white with tinges of yellow or purple. Sometimes called prairie gentian and lira de San Pedro (Saint Peter’s lyre).
Rudbeckia hirta — Blooms May through September. A prairie species found throughout the state. Renowned Swedish naturalist Linnaeus (1701-1778) dedicated the genus to two of his botanist predecessors at the University of Uppsala, the father and son Olof Rudbeck. Hirta means “rough hairy” in Latin.
Ratibida colum-naris— Blooms May to July, later with favorable weather. Common throughout most of state. Named for its resemblance to the tradi-tional high-crowned, broad-brimmed Mexican sombrero.
Callirhoë involucrata— Blooms early spring into summer, in most parts of the state, except the west. Grows in sandy soils in open woods and scrublands. Mostly single flowers, on plants about six to eight inches high. A tall (two to three feet), branched variety bears many blossoms on one plant.
Monarda spp. — Tall erect annual or biennial that blooms May through August. Thrives in sandy or rocky pastures, prairies, plains, and meadows throughout Texas. Also called lemon-mint, horsemint, and wild berga-mot. Lin-naeus named the genus in honor of a Spanish writer and physician, Nicolás Monardes (1493-1588), whose work first introduced much of Europe to such American plants as balsam, coca, corn, passionflower, potatoes, sarsaparilla, sunflower, and tobacco.
Liatris mucronata — Blooms August to December on well-drained soils in prairies, plains, limestone glades, hillsides, and on the edges and open areas of woodlands. Also called button snakeroot be-cause roots and underground stems have been used to treat rattlesnake bites. Butterflies and hummingbirds are frequent visitors, and goldfinches and other songbirds eat the seeds.
Melampodium leucanthum— Blooms early spring through fall, thriving on calcareous soils of West and Central Texas. Low-growing perennial; blooms form a dense, compact mound. Other common Texas daisies are Tahoka daisy (Machaeranthera tanacetifolia), huisache daisy (Amblyolepsis setigera), chocolate daisy (Berlandiera lyrata), and sleepy daisy (Xanthisma texanum).
Sisyrinchium spp. — Blooms March-May, blanketing roadside pastures with blue to purple blooms and grasslike leaves on sunny spring days. Common in sandy forests of East Texas and on prairies of the Texas Gulf Coast.
White prickly poppy
Argemone albiflora — Blooms profusely in April. Abundant, nettle-like plant of Central and South Texas. Plants may grow more than three feet tall. Close-ly related species are yellow, pink, and rose. The herbage is so prickly that cattle leave it untouched even during severe droughts when they have grazed other plants to the ground.
Centaurea americana— Blooms June and July from east Central Texas westward and north into the Panhandle; in the Trans-Pecos, sometimes blooms a second time in August. Also called shaving brush and star thistle (but isn’t prickly like a thistle).
Helianthus annuus — Blooms March through December in vacant lots, fields, pastures, open stream banks, and along roadsides and railroad tracks throughout the state. Texas boasts some 19 varieties of wild sunflowers, in-cluding Maximilian sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani) and swamp sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius).
Eryngium leavenworthii— Blooms July through October in Central Texas. Also called false purple thistle. Striking flowers on plants that grow up to three feet tall. In late summer it forms dense masses of purple in fields and prairies and along roadsides.
Beach morning glory
Ipomoea stolonifera— Blooms April through December on Gulf Coast dunes and beaches. Roots are im-portant in helping to stabilize the dunes. This white morning glory frequently grows with the rosy and purple goatfoot morning glory (Ipomoea pescaprae), which also helps stabilize coastal dunes
Cooperia pedunculata — Appears like magic a few days after heavy rains, sometimes in masses, across the eastern two-thirds of the state. Single white bloom atop a straight, foot-high green stem. Blossoms open slowly at dusk, gradually expand during the night, in full flower by morning. Flowers may last up to four days be-fore turning pinkish and withering. Delicate, lovely fragrance. The smaller evening star rain lily (Cooperia drummondii) tends to bloom in late summer and fall, while the larger rain lily blooms in spring and early summer.
Coreopsis spp. — Various species bloom somewhere in the state every month except January. “Coreopsis” is from a combination of New Latin and Greek for “having a buglike appearance,” referring to the seed, which resembles a beetle. Hence, the common name, tickseed.
Erigeron philadelphicus — Blooms March to August in moist soils in fields, pastures, woodland edges, roadsides, and along streams throughout the eastern half of Texas. Prairie fleabane (Erigeron modestus) blooms March through November in gravelly or rocky calcareous soils in open areas and hillsides in North Central and western Texas.
Prickly pear cactus
Opuntia spp.— Blooms in shades from yellow to red across the state. Perennial. The fruit, or tuna, which ranges from red to deep maroon when ripe, makes a very good jelly.
Tradescantia spp. — Blooms statewide February through June. Spiderworts were named for John Tradescant the Elder (1577-1638) and John Tradescant the Younger (1608-1662), both of whom were English royal gardeners. The Tradescants grew plants sent to them and collected by them in America. As a result, spiderworts are common in English gardens.
Asclepias tuberosa — Blooms April to September throughout Texas in fields, thickets, open woodlands, and hillsides. The densely packed flowers, rich in nectar, attract bees, beelike flies, and butterflies.
Physostegia spp.— Depending on the species, blooms April through August in the central and eastern portions of Texas. Physostegia flowers may be moved up, down, or sideways, and will remain in those positions. Hence, the common name, obedient plant. A member of the mint family.
Hymenocallis liriosme — Blooms March to May. Prefers swampy or other moist bottomland, banks of streams, and ditches along the Gulf Coast and in East Texas. Plant can grow 40 inches tall, flowers to six inches across. The elegant plant gets its genus name from the Greek kallos, meaning “beautiful,” and hymen, which means “membrane.” Hymen was also the Greek god of marriage. A member of the amaryllis family.
Lantana urticoides or L. horrida— Blooms April to September throughout Texas in fields, thickets, open woodlands, and hillsides. The densely packed flowers, rich in nectar, attract bees, beelike flies, and butterflies.
Centaurium beyrichii— Thrives on the barren, gravel-strewn hills of Central Texas and westward. The flowers, which bloom May through August, branch to form a nearly perfect bouquet. Called quinine weed by pioneers, the plants were dried and used to reduce fevers.
Cirsium texanum— Blooms throughout Texas, except in the Panhandle, April to August. Bumblebees and butterflies are attracted to Texas thistle. Goldfinches eat the seeds and line their nests with the fluff of the ripened seeds.
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From the March 2014 issue
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Red gaillardias are similar to Indian blankets but entirely red. They grow between 12 and 20 inches tall, with flowers that are almost 3 inches wide. They like to grow in large masses, taking up acres or miles.What are the yellow flowers along Texas highways? ›
BLACK-EYED SUSAN (Rudbeckia hirta) is a prairie species found throughout Texas. Its bright yellow flowers with a chocolate brown center bloom from May through September. BLUEBELLS (Eustoma exaltatum) bloom from June to September. Don't pick them!What are the purple flowers along the highway? ›
What is the name of the pretty purple and white flowers blooming along the freeways and natural areas? They bloom in May and look kind of like a phlox. They are pretty and must be easy to grow - where can I buy them? These are Dame's rocket (Hesperis matronalis) a member of the mustard family and no relation to phlox.Where is the best place to see Texas wildflowers? ›
- Marble Falls. Perfect for a day trip, you can check out the spectacular bluebonnet vistas at the 400-acre Turkey Bend Recreation area. ...
- Burnet. ...
- Fredericksburg. ...
- Johnson City and Llano. ...
- McKinney Falls State Park. ...
- Cedar Park.
Pink evening primrose
Oenothera speciosa — Blooms April to June across much of the state. Opens at dusk in northern portions of Texas; flowers wither each day, replaced by new blossoms each evening. Elsewhere in the state, blooms stay open all day. Drought-tolerant.
WILD ABOUT TEXAS
Driving along Texas roads in the spring is nothing short of extraordinary, as the roadsides are adorned with flowers that have splashes of colors all over the spectrum. And one of those yellow flowers is a very common annual, and that flower is known as the huisache daisy.
Commonly known as sourgrass or Bermuda buttercup, it flowers from November to April, and in the last few months oxalis has come out in full force in the Bay Area, encouraged by December and February rains.What are the orange wildflowers in Texas? ›
Texas Lantanas – Lantanas can be purchased at plant nurseries in a variety of colors, but as wildflowers in Texas, they are found in fiery colors: red, orange and yellow. They appear as round clusters of tiny flowers and can be found in brush areas or woodlands from mid-spring to mid-summer.What flowers grow along the highway? ›
Short flowering plants that grow along roadways include California poppy (Eschsholzia californica) and African daisies (Osteospermum). California poppy is the state flower of California. This annual's tulip-shaped blossoms appear in late winter and early spring, are medium orange and are 1 1/2 inches long.What are the plants on the freeway? ›
C. chilensis is commonly called sea fig and C. edulis is known as sour fig and also highway ice plant. They're both easily mistaken for each other: both have fleshy, spearlike leaves and prostrate roots that grow easily in sand dunes.
Chicory can be expected to bloom from June through October. Chicory's sky blue flowers add just the right touch to not only country roads, but city streets as well, proving that it can endure almost any environmental stress. Its only real enemy is routine cultivation making it a weed even the farmers can enjoy.Where are wildflowers blooming in Texas? ›
Bluebonnets are most abundant in Hill and Washington Counties. The fields bloom from March until mid-April. The best place to spot these stunning wildflowers is Ennis, home of the "Official Texas Bluebonnet Trail" that spans 40 miles and attracts tens of thousands of visitors.What month do the bluebonnets bloom in Texas? ›
That said, bluebonnets typically start blooming in the “bluebonnet belt” of Central/East Texas toward the end of March and continue through mid- to late April.Where are the Texas wildflowers? ›
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is the perfect starting point for your wildflower adventure, offering labeled displays of wildflowers and plenty of photo opportunities. The Center is conveniently located roughly 12 miles southwest of downtown Austin.What are the purple wildflowers called? ›
|Common Camas||Grass Widow||American Sawwort|
|Slender Toothwort (short leaves)||Western Corydalis||Subalpine Daisy|
|Leafy Aster||Spreading Phlox||Monkshood|
|Oregon Flag Iris||Showy Jacob's Ladder||Howell's Violet|
|Columbia Kittentails||Naked Broomrape||Sagebrush Violets|
What spring color can I plant now in Texas? To enjoy your cool season annual flowers longer, March is the perfect time to plant now! Choose from blooms like geraniums, petunias, snapdragons, stock, and sweet alyssum.What are the white puffy weeds called? ›
Some may also think of dandelions as those white puffballs whose seeds you can blow away like a candle on a birthday cake. The puffball is also considered a dandelion — it's what the yellow flower matures into after a few days.What are the purple flowers in Texas called? ›
Eryngo (Eryngium leavenworthii) blooms July through October in Central Texas. Also called false purple thistle, the striking flowers adorn plants that grow up to 3 feet tall. In late summer, it forms dense masses of purple in fields, prairies, and along roadsides.What are red bluebonnets called? ›
Jerry Parsons from Texas A&M developed these bluebonnets and has also come up with other colors of bluebonnets (there's also one called Barbara Bush Lavender). Actually, you may have the variety called "Henry's Red" or "Alamo Fire" and not the maroon Aggie bluebonnet.What are the yellow field flowers called? ›
Most of the yellow-flowered plants currently in fields is butterweed. Native to the United States, butterweed (Packera glabella) can be found from Texas east to Florida, northward along the Atlantic coast to Virginia, and west to Nebraska.
Abundant clusters of tiny, bright yellow four-petaled flowers borne atop hairless, stout, light green to reddish purple flower stalks appear to "rocket" above 1-2' tall rounded, bushy plants.What is the most common wildflower? ›
- Achillea millefolium.
- Geranium carolinianum.
- Rudbeckia hirta.
- Helianthus annuus.
DeWitt County has over 1,000 different species that have been documented blooming at various times throughout the county, which is the reason that DeWitt County is named the "Wildflower Capital of Texas," as designated by the Texas Legislature in 1999.How many wildflowers are native to Texas? ›
There are over 5,000 species of wildflowers in the state of Texas. TxDOT nurtures them through their carefully planned mowing policies. All species of the Bluebonnet are considered the state flower. There are also White Bonnets and Pink Bonnets.What wildflowers are native to South Texas? ›
- ...see what is in bloom in South Texas.
- Cactaceae - Cactus Family.
- Commelinaceae - Spiderwort Family.
- Polemoniaceae - Phlox Family.
- Malvaceae - Mallow Family.
- Asteraceae - Sunflower Family.
- Gentianaceae - Gentian Family.
- Hydrophyllaceae - Waterleaf Family.
There is actually no law that prohibits picking bluebonnets in Texas, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. However, in certain areas it may be illegal or dangerous. Also, it's important to be courteous and take care of the flowers so that all Texans can enjoy them.What are the blue flowers in Texas? ›
Bluebonnets are perhaps the best-loved flower in all of Texas (the state flower), and there are lots of reasons why. For one thing, they're absolutely stunning. Each spring, fields of blue blooms pop up along roadways and fields making an incredible sight.What flower looks like a bluebonnet? ›
Grape hyacinth (Muscari spp.) These spring bloomers resemble bluebonnets because they produce dense populations with violet blue flower spikes, but they are quite small. Native to southeast Europe, they are non-native wildflowers in Texas, often escaping cottage gardens and popping up near parks and along creeks.Why are there flowers on the side of the road? ›
Roadside memorials are a statement of grief and love from the loved ones of the accident victim or victims. But apart from their personal significance, these memorials also serve as a reminder and warning to other road users of the dangers of driving, and to encourage safer driving.What does Queen Anne's lace look like? ›
The Queen Anne's lace “flower” is actually a compound flower with thousands of tiny white flowers in lacy, flat-topped clusters (umbels) with a dark, purplish center. As the seeds ripen, the inflorescence curls inward to form a birds nest shape and turns a brownish color.
For many years in warmer zones one has seen many miles of oleander (Nerium oleander) blooming for many months in freeway medians in warm zones but winter frost can hit it up north. Also there is a pest called the glassy-winged sharpshooter that has caused a lot of problems with oleanders.Why is oleander on the freeway? ›
The oleander in fact offers protection when planted on the medians of the freeways by screening out the bright lights from oncoming traffic, not to mention serving as a shield from out of control drivers, all the while adding beauty to the surroundings.Why Trees are planted in middle of the highway? ›
Trees absorb the sound vibrations produced by various sources and hence leading in prevention of noise pollution. It also provide shades and make the roads beautiful. Was this answer helpful?What are the weeds with blue flowers called? ›
Siberian Squill, Common Blue Violet, Tiny Bluets, Asiatic Dayflower, Henbit, Carpet Weed, and Blue Oxalis are all lawn weeds with small blue flowers. Other plants like Columbine Aquilegia and Creeping Bellflower are lawn weeds with blue flowers that sneakily invade a turf.Are Texas bluebonnets weeds? ›
Bluebonnets are weeds, after all! For more about what blooms in the Highland Lakes, visit the Wildflowers guide.What are the blue wildflowers? ›
- Columbian monkshood. Aconitum columbianum.
- Colorado columbine. Aquilegia caerulea.
- California harebell. Asyneuma prenanthoides.
- Harebell. ...
- Chicory. ...
- Small-flower blue-eyed mary. ...
- Nuttall's larkspur. ...
- Mountain marsh larkspur.
If the weather cooperates, March, April and May are prime blooming months in Texas. Dogwood festivals in Woodville and Palestine celebrate the season with special events usually held on the last two weekends in March and the first weekend in April. Bluebonnets, too, are in their glory all during April.Where are the flower fields in Texas? ›
There are sunflower fields and other attractions at Robinson Family Farm, located 2 and a half hours north of San Antonio towards Waco. Sweet Berry Farm in Marble Falls - Located about 90 minutes north of San Antonio, this farm is home to a tulip field.Are the wildflowers blooming in Hill Country Texas? ›
Keep in mind that our state's native wildflowers typically begin their bloom at the southern half of the Hill Country in mid-to-late March and then slowly spread northward through to late April.Where is the best place in Texas to see the bluebonnets? ›
Llano. Llano is usually THE spot to see Texas Bluebonnets every year. If you're passing through, the obvious lunch recommendations are the historic Cooper's BBQ and the lesser known Burger Bar Cafe has one of the best hamburgers in the state.
Nearby Burnet (“Burn-it, durn-it, you should learn it!”) is known as Texas's Bluebonnet Capital. They hold the annual Bluebonnet festival every second week of April. It's one of the best places to include in your search for bluebonnets in Texas and is a part of the drive-yourself Highland Lakes Bluebonnet Trail.Are bluebonnets blooming yet in 2022? ›
The bluebonnets are coming, but they need some more help. The Ennis Bluebonnet Trails, considered one of the best places in Texas to see the beloved state flower, are opening for the season Friday, April 1 and running through April 30, 2022.Where are the bluebonnets blooming in Texas now? ›
Texas Bluebonnet Season 2022
The plants are looking good in Central Texas but still pretty green. Best bet to see color now: Big Bend, along the Gulf coast in places such as Port A, Rockport, and Goliad, and a smattering of color along I-10 in Houston.
The city of Georgetown, north of Austin, is famous for the most beautiful town square in Texas and red poppies. Georgetown was officially called the Red Poppy Capital of Texas due to its colorful landscape that comes alive with scarlet flowers every spring.Where are the wildflowers in Hill Country Texas? ›
Just outside of Fredericksburg, Will City loop is a 13-mile two-lane stretch of some of the best wildflowers in Texas. Take State Highway 16 North from Fredericksburg approximately 13 miles and turn east on Ranch Road 1323 to Willow City. Roadside property along this route is private, so no wandering into the fields.What flowers are in season in March in Texas? ›
What spring color can I plant now in Texas? To enjoy your cool season annual flowers longer, March is the perfect time to plant now! Choose from blooms like geraniums, petunias, snapdragons, stock, and sweet alyssum.Are Indian blanket flowers edible? ›
Edible parts of Blanket Flower:
The dried seeds can be ground into a powder then kneaded into seed butter and spread on bread.
This spreading shrub, often as broad as high, grows 2-3 ft., sometimes reaching 9 ft. Bright-red, pendant, hibiscus-like flowers never fully open, their petals overlapping to form a loose tube with the staminal column protruding, said to resemble a Turkish turban, hence its most common name, Turk's Cap.Are bluebonnets native to Texas? ›
The true Texas bluebonnet is the Lupinus texensis, but there are five species of bluebonnet native to Texas—and today, all of them hold the state flower title. These include: Lupinus concinnus. Lupinus havardii.What blooms in Texas in the spring? ›
Texas has over 5,000 species of wildflowers, but the most common ones are bluebonnets (Texas's state flower), Indian paintbrush, pink evening primrose (known as a buttercup to Texans), Indian blankets, Texas bluebell, dandelion, brown-eyed Susan, white prickly poppy, and about twenty more.
Here in Central Texas, the mountain laurel, tulips, and narcissus make their debut as the earliest bloomers of the year, usually in late January through February. After the threat of frost has passed, more delicate beauties come to life, like anemones, ranunculus, and iris.Is Indian blanket the same as blanket flower? ›
Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel, Indian blanket, Indian blanketflower, or sundance) is a North American species of short-lived perennial or annual flowering plants in the sunflower family.Are blanket flowers poisonous to touch? ›
Blanket flower is also listed by the Department of Plant and Soil Science of the University of Vermont Extension System as potentially harmful as a skin irritant.Are Indian blankets medicinal? ›
The Indian blanket flower has been used medicinally for breastfeeding mothers. It is made into tea and they bathe in it to soothe sore nipples. It is used on sore eyes in a similar way. The root of the plant is also used for medicinal purposes.Can you eat Turks Cap? ›
Turk's Cap produces a small marble-size red fruit that is edible. It has a mealy taste, but birds and animals seem to like it. The flowers are also edible with a sweet taste. They can be used as garnish in salads or on cakes!Are Turks Cap native to Texas? ›
Turk's cap is native to East, South, and Central Texas as well as the eastern part of the Edwards Plateau. This distribution proves it can adjust to a variety of soil types and moisture regimes.Is Turks Cap invasive in Texas? ›
Turk's Cap is a rarity, pleasantly unique and easy to work with making it the perfect summer shrub. However, It's vigor and durability does come with a cost. It can be considered invasive, but do not let that discourage you.Do bluebonnets attract rattlesnakes? ›
So, even though the Bluebonnet fields are a prime picture taking location this time of year, it's also a prime place for creatures like rattlesnakes to hide in and get out of the sun.Can you eat a bluebonnet? ›
Believe it or not, the bluebonnet is actually toxic if ingested. Leaves and seeds from the entire Lupinus plant family are poisonous, although actual toxicity is determined by a number of different biological and environmental factors (see 'Benefit'). Even animals steer clear of bluebonnets when they get the munchies.Are bluebonnets and Bluebell the same? ›
When grasping in your mind for a name to call the pretty flowers you see, "bluebonnet" might slip out when you mean to say "bluebell." While their similar-sounding names might lead you to mistakenly call a bluebonnet a bluebell, and vice versa, these plants are not identical.